Issue VI - May 2007
From the Chairman’s Notes
|The Rev. Canon Derwyn Shea
Our membership continues to grow and our programs are beginning to take shape. Our 2006 Annual General Meeting was well attended though not with the same numbers as the previous year. To encourage and facilitate greater participation, the executive has decided to make a few changes for our 2007 AGM. Please read the copy in this newsletter that details the schedule. The meeting will start later but will go forward into dinner in the renovated Assembly Dining Room. This year, the Lieutenant Governor will be hosting our annual event — details to follow. We have arranged for a stimulating program and we believe our after dinner speaker, Ali Velshi of CNN, will spark considerable interest and conversation. Cost per person for dinner has been kept very modest in the hope members will be accompanied by spouse or a guest. They will also be welcomed at the Vice-Regal reception providing we have advanced notice of their attendance.
As you glance through these pages you will note activity in a number of areas. Our networking with sister associations has been productive as well as aggressive. I had the honour of joining the AGM of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in Washington while our Secretary, John Parker, represented us in Ottawa at the AGM of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. Gilles Morin represented our Association at the AGM of the Quebec Association of Former Parliamentarians in Quebec City where he continued our Liaison Committee activities which we hope will lead to a joint activity later this year in Kingston, Ontario.
In late summer I was pleased to meet with the executive of the former members association of the Irish Parliament in Dublin, with the new chair of the European Parliament Former Members Association and to make contact with the Association of Former Members of European States. We are hopeful that as our contacts with sister associations mature, our own program offerings will be enriched. Given the agenda of our executive, I believe we are just beginning to get a positive glimmer of that possibility. Our education program that aims to develop a curriculum outline for elementary /secondary schools has completed the formative stages. Funding for step two is now needed to proceed and we hope the Speaker can be helpful in this regard. Liaison with our Quebec counterparts is being steered by Vice-Chair Gilles Morin. We hope by our AGM he, and Director John Hastings, will be able to report details of our first joint venture.
Our European trip has not developed as quickly as we could have wished simply because of limited resources amongst our volunteers. Our lead, Murad Velshi, and his wife have put together a first-rate tour detailed elsewhere in this newsletter. If you have any interest in joining us please get your name registered as quickly as possible. Members may register guests as well, but we will need names soon since security is one obvious requirement of the trip. However, there is no question that what is being proposed will be exciting and informative. Numbers of participants are limited so register interest as soon as possible.Study for the first Premiers’ Dinner is still on-going but we hope to have details available by the time we meet for the AGM. With regret, we note the retirement of two friends of OAFP; Claude DesRosiers retired as Clerk of the Assembly and Marilyn Abraham as Director of Human Resources. Both were most helpful as we worked to bring our Association into being and to each we extend best wishes. I wish to express my appreciation to the Speaker and all Assembly staff for their many courtesies and to Christian Pitchard, our director of members’ services, for his diligence in maintaining the office on a consistent part-time basis. We wish we could afford a full time office staff but funds are still insufficient. I also wish to express appreciation to all members of your executive. In particular, I wish to congratulate our Secretary, John Parker, on his election to Toronto City Council and Director John Hastings for his election to the Toronto District School Board. With the intervening campaign, our members will appreciate the challenge I experienced trying to raise quorum. But the elections are behind us and we are filled with energy as we face this new year. To all members, I wish each of you happiness, success and good health this year and I look forward to greeting you at our forthcoming AGM in June.
|OAFP First Annual Dinner
We have arranged a buffet dinner to be held in the newly renovated Legislative Dining Room. The Menu will offer great variety and we are delighted that Mr Ali Velshi, Business Anchor for CNN, has accepted our invitation to speak at this event. Not only has a special and varied menu been arranged but the cost is particularly attractive as well: only $15 pp for members and up to one guest. Non-members cost is $35.00. The dinner will follow the Vice-Regal reception and will be held at 6:30 PM. PLEASE NOTE: ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS ESSENTIAL.
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF FORMER PARLIAMENTARIANS
NOTICE OF MEETING
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION WILL BE HELD
ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007 ROOM 228 — LEGISLATIVE BUILDING.
3:00p.m. Registration and reception for members and guests
3:30-5:00p.m. Reports and other business
5:00-6.30p.m. Lieutenant Governor’s Reception for former members and guests and sitting members
6:30-8:30p.m. Dinner in the "new" Legislative Dining Room.
Guest Speaker: Mr. Ali Velshi, CNN Business Commentator
in memory of departed members who died during 2006-2007
Died 17 January, 2006
Anthony (Tony) Grande
Died 9 August, 2006
Died 22 September, 2006
St. George-St. David Lib.
Died 10 October, 2006
Ontario Citizens’ Assembly: making history in Ontario
Ontario’s first-ever Citizens’ Assembly is getting ready to make an important decision: Should Ontario keep its current electoral system or change to a new one? The process began in the spring of 2006 when Elections Ontario randomly selected one person from each of the province’s 103 ridings to sit on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. This group of citizens spent the fall months studying Ontario’s electoral system and others. Through the winter the Assembly consulted with the public to find out what Ontarians value in an electoral system. Now they are deliberating on a recommendation that may change the shape of our democracy.
The Citizens’ Assembly is discussing the options we have when we vote, and how our votes are translated into seats at Queen’s Park. If the Assembly recommends a new electoral system, the government has promised that all Ontario voters will have their say in a referendum to be held at the next provincial election on October 10, 2007.
Including government-appointed Chair, George Thomson, there are 52 men and 52 women on the Assembly with at east one Aboriginal member. Mr. Thomson is an educator, and former judge and deputy minister. While a member of the Assembly, the Chair has no vote unless one is needed to break a tie.
The work of the Citizens’ Assembly is open and transparent. Members of the public and the media are welcome to attend all sessions.
The Assembly’s final report as submitted on May 15, 2007.
Visit the Citizens’ Assembly website: www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca to read member profiles, access learning materials and follow the Assembly’s decision-making process.
L’Assemblée des citoyens
d'importance historique en Ontario
La toute première assemblée de citoyens de l’Ontario se prépare à prendre une décision importante: la province devrait-elle garder son système électoral actuel ou en adopter un nouveau? Le processus a débuté au printemps 2006 lorsqu’Électîons a choisi au hasard une personne de chacune des 103 circonscriptions ontariennes pour siéger à l’Assemblée des citoyens sur la réforme électorale. Le groupe a passé des mois à apprendre le système électoral ontarien et ceux d’autres endroits. Tout au long de l’hiver, l’Assemblée a consulté le public afin de découvrir ce qu’un système électoral a d’important pour la population ontarîenne. Elle en est maintenant arrivée à délibérer d’une recommandation qui pourrait transformer notre démocratie.
L’Assemblée des citoyens discute des options qui s’offrent à nous lorsque nous votons et de la façon dont nos voix se traduisent par des sièges à l’Assemblée législative. Si l’Assemblée recommande un nouveau système électoral, le gouvernement a promis que tous les électeurs de la province auront l’occasion de se prononcer à ce sujet dans le cadre d’un référendum qui se tiendra en même temps que la prochaine élection provinciale du 10 octobre 2007.
En comptant George Thomson, nommé au poste de président, l’Assemblée se compose de 52 femmes et 52 homes, dont au moins un membre autochtone. M. Thomson est un éducateur, ainsi qu’un ancien juge et sous-ministre. Quoiqu’il soit membre de l’Assemblée, le président n’a pas droit de vote à moins qu’il soit nécessaire de briser l’égalité.
Le travail de l’Assemblée des citoyens est ouvert et transparent. Le public et les médîas sont les bienvenus à toutes les séances.
L’Assemblée doit remettre son rapport final le 15 mai 2007.
Rendez-vous au site web de l’Assemblée des citoyens à www.assembleedescitoyens.gouv.on.ca pour lire le profil des membres, pour consulter le matériel d’apprentissage ou pour suivre le processus décisionnel de l’Assemblée.
On May 9 and 10th 2OO6, on behalf of the Ontario Association of Former Parliamentarians, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual General Assembly of L’Amicale des Anciens Parlementaires du Québec (AAPQ) which was held in Quebec City.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Quebec and Honorary Chair of the AAPQ, The Honourable Michel Bissonnet gave a reception, on the eve of the Annual General Assembly, for the active and former Parliamentarians gathered for the event.
It was in an atmosphere of stimulating cordiality and friendliness that the Speaker and the retiring President of the AAPQ, Mr Antoine Drolet received the delegates. The amiable ambience that prevailed was a clear sign of friendly ties always present amongst former parliamentarians. This special occasion confirmed that friendship transcends political affiliations.
The Annual General Assembly was held the next day at the beautiful restaurant "Le Parlementaire" located in Legislative Building. An election was held to replace the retiring President of the AAPQ, Mr Antoine Drolet. The new elected President, Mr. Jacques Brassard was born in 1940 in the beautiful region of Lac St-Jean. He represented that region as a member of the National Assembly of Quebec from 1976 to 2002. L’Amicale des Anciens Parlementaires du Quebec has 266 active members from a potential of 370 former members.
I was invited to address the members present at the meeting. On behalf of our Association, I conveyed your greetings and assured the AAPQ of our sincere and attentive cooperation. I also took the opportunity to report on our activities. We have so many interests in common with our Quebec neighbours and every effort should be made to maintain a close relationship.
During my 14 years as a member of the Ontario Legislature I became a personal friend of the Present Speaker of the National Assembly of Quebec, The Honourable Michel Bissonet. I am very grateful for his personal and kind attention given me during my visit.
Le 9 et 10 mai 2006, en qualité de vice-président de l’Association des ExParlementaires de l’Ontario, j’ai eu e plaisir de participer a l’assemblée générale annuelle de l’amicale des Anciens Parlementaires du Québec (AAPQ).
Le 9 mai, le Président de l’Assemblée nationale et Président honoraire de l’amicale, honorable Michel Bissonnet, a offert une réception aux membres de l’amicale, la veille de l’assemblée générale annuelle. Accueilli chaleureusement par le Président de I’Assemblée ainsi que le Président sortant M. Antoine Drolet, l’ambiance amicale qui y regnait témoigne des liens toujours présents entre les anciens parlementaires de toutes allégeances qui ont du plaisir a se retrouver dans un cadre de fête. Cette rencontre confirmait que l’amitié dépasse les affiliations politiques.
Le 10 mai se tenait l’assemblée générale des membres de l’amicale réunis. Une élection fût tenue afin de choisir un remplaçant au Président sortant de charge, M. Antoine Drolet. Le nouveau Président de l’amicale, M. Jacques Brossard, est originaire de la belle region du Lac-St-Jean. Il a éte député de 1976 a 2002. L’amicale des Anciens Parlementaires du Québec compte dans ses rangs 266 membres sur une possibilité de 370 anciens députés.
Invité a adresser la parole a l’assemblée réunie, j’ai décrit les activites de notre association et offert au nouveau Président notre appui et entière coopération. Nous partageons les mêmes buts et intérêts de nos voisins du Québec. Nous devons continuer a maintenir cet excellent rapport qui existe entre nos deux associations.
Durant mes 14 années comme depute a l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario j’ai appris à connaître le Président actuel de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec, l’honorable Michel Bissonnet. Nous sommes devenus de très bons amis. Je le remercie sincèrement de la gentillesse qu’il a témoignée à mon égard lors de ma visite.
The Order of Ontario
The Order of Ontario is the province’s most prestigious official honour. The award was created in 1986 by the Government of Ontario to recognize the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field. The men and women invested in The Order are representative of the best of Ontario’s caring and diverse society and stand as shining examples for us all. Their lives have benefited society in Ontario and elsewhere.
Where or What in the World
(A quick romp through issues and events engaging some of our sister organizations)
The British Association of Former Members of Parliament records in its newsletter "Order, Order!" membership numbers of approximately 300. As with many associations, the British Association is wrestling with parliamentary pensions. Former members with at least 10 years service may apply for a photo identity pass to enter many, but not all, areas of the central precinct.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association reports the development of "Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures." Practices range from the functions and administration of Houses, to the roles of parties and individual members and guidelines on ethical performance and accountability. As we read in news accounts, the Fiji Islands lost its elected government and parliament in a December 5th military coup. And the C.P.A. recommends Commonwealth nations should pool experiences in an effort to successfully combat economic crime. A seminar was conducted on this topic in Ottawa during October last year. Attention was also given to improving female representation to 30% in legislatures by 2015. Climate change has also been a feature of the 26th Small Countries Conference.
U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. Jim Slattery has been named the new President – he follows Jack Bueckner. During his term as President Jack provided exemplary leadership, especially during the dark days as his beloved wife Nancy was dying of cancer. All members of our Association, I know, join in expressing our sympathy to Jack and his family. And we extend to Jim our very best wishes as he assumes leadership of that large and active association. Best wishes also to John Rhodes III who assumes the Vice-Presidency of the Association. The U.S. Association has been especially active in a "Congress to Campus" program, "Congressional Study Groups and Democracy Building." It has also been an active partner with the Canadian Association and the Association of Former Members of the European Parliament in the development of a credential program for foreign election observers.
European Parliament Former Members Association is currently chaired by Josi Maria Gil-Robles. Currently the Association is focused on issues of immigration into the E.U. This group also supports a "Campus Program" and during 2006, its Study Visit was to Romania and Bulgaria which raised awareness among participants of how much both countries need in social, economic, ecological and infrastructure terms. Strengthening justice and the rule of law and combating organized crime and corruption were benchmarked as essential elements for integration into the E.U. community of values.
The European Association of Former Parliamentarians new President, Nuala Fennell met with our Chairman Canon Derwyn Shea during his July 2006 visit to Dublin in meetings with the Irish Parliamentary Former Members Society. This Association is not to be confused with the E.U. Association. The EPFMA draws membership from 15 member states – not all members of the E.U. President Fennell’s first year in office surprised her by the general lack of support for many Former Members Associations bordering on "actual hostility and stinginess." While the Ontario Association has been blessed with the provision of space, if not many dollars, we note Ms. Fennell's observation is all too common during the formative years of so many sister organizations. The EPFMA held its major conference in Cyprus in November focusing around the theme: "Europe, the Mediterranean and the Fight Against International Terrorism."
The Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians recently produced a 36 page "newsletter" which is apparently funded by Parliament. Doug Rowland is the current Chair of CAFP and attention during the past year has focused on the establishment of the International Election Monitors Institute (in co-operation with the EU FMA and the USA FMC). CIDA has agreed to provide some funding over the next 3 years to train foreign election observers and to assist in their deployment. The Association continues to sponsor the Parliamentary Interns Program and its Second Annual Fundraising Dinner held at the Canadian War Museum in November was a great success. We have received no word from any association in British Columbia, Alberta or Saskatchewan nor have we received recent news from our colleagues formerly in the Scottish Parliament.
Irish Parliamentary Former Members Society executive met in July with our Chairman on exchange of experiences. Finances, access and research support featured prominently in discussions although the Society enjoys a stronger base of financial support from The Dail Eireann than does the OAFP. In all other respects, our objectives and activities are very similar and we hope to add the Irish Parliament to our first Study Tour in 2008.
|Executive Meeting with Speaker Brown
|In Dublin, Canon Shea with Deputy PM and Executive Members of Former Members Association of Ireland
|OAFP Chair with Executive Members of the QAFP
in Quebec City
|Members’ Social Hour
|Our Festive Reception
Human Resources recently conducted a survey of former members who currently are receiving benefits. Some of the replies caused astonishment. Apparently many are unaware they have emergency out-of-country coverage. However, it is strongly recommended that members source additional coverage as well.
Your coverage provides a direct telephone number to Great West Life during regular business hours. GWL will work with the hospital out of country and though you may have immediate out-of-pocket expenses to pay at the time, you will be reimbursed. If you pay for additional private coverage, both carriers will co-ordinate their plans ensuring members get maximum payments. Make sure you let the insurance company you contract first know about any other coverage you have.
Coverage, in brief
- Out-of-country for temporary business or pleasure
- Medical expenses include ambulance, physician fees, X-ray, lab fees, provided they are treatment required
- Hospital accommodation is limited to $65.00 per day (this illustrates the value of additional coverage)
- Benefits reimbursed at 100% of eligible expenses except for prescription drugs which are reimbursed at 90%
- Check your benefits booklet for exclusions
Please note: you must maintain your provincial healthcare coverage under OHIP to be eligible for Great West Life coverage. All out-of-country expenses must be submitted to GWL, who will co-ordinate reimbursement with any other carriers. Eligibility requires submission of claims to OHIP within 12 months from the date the expense is incurred.
Note: this is a synopsis – not a full outline of coverage for former members. If you have any special questions, contact Human Resources directly.
Out-of-country claims or emergency in the USA – call 1-800-957-9777. Any other country – call (collect) 1-204-946-1190 and ask to speak to a client service representative in the Out-of-Country Claims Dept.
Note: if you plan on being out-of-country more than 6 months or if you intend to seek medical treatment outside Ontario, we suggest you contact both OHIP and Great West Life to determine coverage.
This update is general in purpose only.
Prescription Drug Update
Members are covered by Great West Life under the Supplementary Health coverage, with a prescription for VIVAXIM, ADDERALL XR and for LEVITRA.
When a former member (if qualified) turns age 65 they get their prescription drugs through the Province’s senior drug benefit plan. There is an annual deductible of $100 under that plan and then a dispensing fee. Both the $100 deductible and the dispensing fees are eligible under the Great West Life benefit plan. They will be reimbursed at the prevailing rate for drug coverage which at this time is 95%.
Also, when former members age 65 or more are receiving health services in general that are paid for by the Province OR another private plan and the full amount of the claim is not paid, they should send the remaining costs to GWL for consideration. For additional information contact Human Resources at 416-3253545 or fax 416-325-3573.
Members are invited to email or write the OAFP office with any benefits question or concern. We will make every effort to have your questions addressed quickly. If there is coverage you wish the BOIE to consider, please let us know and we will place the request before the Board when it meets.
|Human Rights Issue Resolved
At its meeting of December 11, 2006, the OAFP Executive adopted the Accessibility Policy pursuant to the Minutes of Settlement. Please visit our Accessibility Policy page for full text. The policy will also be before the members at the next general meeting to be held on June 6, 2007. Please note in the policy that the Secretary and President of the Association will have specific responsibilities to deal with accommodation requests. In addition, Vice President Terence Young will be responsible for overseeing compliance with the Code.
For members attending the AGM from beyond the GTA we remind you of the discount available at The Grand Hotel on Jarvis Street. Just show your current membership card to access a special rate.
Claude Bows Out
On November 2, 2006, the speaker (Hon. Michael Brown) tabled before the House a letter of resignation from Claude DesRosiers, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Claude was appointed to serve the Assembly in 1986 and now retires to spend time with his wife, Michelle, and with his children and grandchildren. Prior to assuming his responsibilities with the House, Mr. DesRosiers had already distinguished himself with a long and prestigious career and significant community involvement within and beyond Canada. Most, if not all, of our members served with Claude and remember him as a source of wise, calm and impartial professional counsel. Canon Derwyn Shea sent warmest best wishes and inducted Claude into our Association as the first retired Clerk to be received as an Honourary Member. Best wishes to Claude for a long, productive and healthy life.
Marilyn (Lyn) Leaves the House
Even as OAFP learned of the recent retirement of Claude DesRosiers, we teamed of the impending retirement of Marilyn Abraham. Marilyn retires as Director of Human Resources after many years of service to members — both sitting and retired. Of particular interest, she has been a strong supporter of OAFP and a tireless supporter of former members’ rights and benefits. Her advice to the BOIE has always been fair and principled. Even as she prepared to take her leave she has assembled a package of benefits reform recommendations to place before the BOIE for consideration. Happily, Marilyn is determined to "wear out – not rust out" so we are hopeful we may continue to experience her presence and counsel from time to time. To Marilyn and her family, we offer our sincerest thanks and warmest best wishes for a long and happy retirement.
CNN Provides our Guest Speaker
This year our guest speaker will be Ali Velshi, son of our executive committee member Murad Velshi. If his name sounds familiar you have heard it on CNN where he is a senior business correspondent based in New York. His business segment "The Bottom Line," airs each Wednesday afternoon in "The Situation Room" and daily in the "Vested Interest" segment on American Morning on CNN/US and on Prime News with Erica Hill on Headline News. Ali Velshi’s topic: "Open for Business." Everyone wants your business and media articles tout a well-educated workforce, good infrastructure, low taxes, safe streets, good schools. But are these the things that matter? What kind of incentives can government offer that really foster innovation and growth? What do small, growing businesses reallyneed? And who does it best (and by what measure)?
Born in Kenya and raised in Toronto, Ali graduated from Queen’s University and in 1996 he was awarded a fellowship to the U.S. Congress by the American Political Sciences Association. A lively Question and Answer period will follow his presentation. Ali will be speaking during our dinner (an innovation this year) that will follow our reception with the the Lieutenant Governor in the Vice-Regal Suite at 5 P.M. on June 6. Please book your reservations early by email, fax or telephone to our OAFP Queen’s Park office.
OAFP’s First International Tour in Planning Stages
Our chair and Director Murad Velshi have been working to develop a unique tour for members of OAFP. There is some interest in scheduling the tour for either the spring or fall of 2008.
Stylish Membership Scrolls
Paid-up members will receive very prestigious membership scrolls. They have been described as understated and quietly elegant — something any of us would like to frame and display in our home or office. Each year, upon payment of your annual dues, you will receive a renewed ID card and a seal designated for the current membership year to add to your scroll. Framing is left to the taste of each member.
We extend our thanks to the following members who have made a special financial contribution to our Association. Their gift of $500 or more distinguishes them as Cornerstone Members. A special seal is provided to be affixed to their membership scroll to acknowledge their support and generosity. Any member wishing to join this distinguished group may do so by contacting the OAFP office.
Cornerstone Members as of 2007: Charles Beer, Ken Keyes, Tony Lupusella, David Neumann, Bob Rae, Ronald Van Home, Brenda Elliott
As you communicate with former members please ask them if they have received any OAFP literature. This Association is the only coordinating ‘agency’ attempting to bring all former members into one list. Unless a former member receives benefits from the Legislature it is problematic whether their whereabouts are recorded. Please help us offer them the fellowship of OAFP. Pass their name and contact information to the office and we’ll do the rest.
|2006-2007 OAFP Executive
The Rev Canon Derwyn S Shea,
Gilles Morin, Vice-Chair
Terence Young, Vice-Chair
Tony Silipo, Treasurer
|John Parker, Secretary
Karen Haslam, Director
John Hastings, Director
Stephen Gilchrist, Director
Murad Velshi, Director
Election Reform Final Update
The provincial government has voted to send the recommendations of the ‘Citizen Assembly’ to referendum in the fall general election. Currently Ontario votes in a ‘first past the post’ system. It is recommended to change that system to mixed-member system. A two-part ballot would be used to cast votes for MPPs in 90 newly created ridings (vs. the current 107) plus another 39 MPPs to be selected from party lists to be awarded proportionately to reflect the popular vote. Theory vs. reality will now be put to the test by the people.
|Where Are They Now?
Municipal (and Episcopal) election results in case you missed them:
Bob Chiarelli (L)
lost mayoralty in Ottawa
Herb Epp (L)
lost mayoralty in Waterloo
Cam Jackson (PC)
won mayoralty in Burlington
Tony Wong (L)
won seat on York Regional Council
Don Cousens (PC)
retired as Mayor of Markham
Randy Hope (NDP)
won mayoralty in Chatham-Kent
John Parker (PC)
won seat on Toronto City Council
|Gary Carr (PC)
won Chair of Halton Regional Council
Anthony Perruzza (NDP)
won seat on Toronto City Council
John Hastings (PC)
won seat on Toronto District School Board
Jack Johnson (PC)
his son Colin enthroned as Anglican Bishop of Toronto
Dianne Cunningham (PC)
Director of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management (U.W.O.)
Derwyn S Shea (PC)
appointed to the National Seniors Council
Joe Spina (PC)
appointed to CPP Appeals Tribunal
Rob Sampson (PC)
appointed to review the national prison system